Conny Ketting (née Jacoba Cornelia Petronella Helena Van Rossen) passed away on Nov. 30 at the age of 87, from complications of a stroke she had last May.
Her husband, . The couple had lived in Bedford Hills for 62 years.
"She and Jaap were a most wonderful couple," John Stockbridge, Bedford town historian, said.
It was Jaap's dream to have a Bedford Hills Historical Museum, a dream which was realized when former Supervisor John Dinin arranged for the museum to be housed on the lower floor of the Bedford Town House, Stockbridge said.
"Conny was always smiling and supportive of her husband's efforts. When looking for a word that best described her, my wife Anita said Conny was a warm person, 'exuding friendship.' That about says it...she will be missed," said Stockbridge.
Marcy Furman of Bedford Hills, a close friend of the couple, remembers painting the museum with Kay Nelligan. "I remember Conny bringing us sandwiches," she said. "There's a quote that says behind every successful man is a strong woman but there is no more fitting phrase to describe Conny. They were both generous and community-minded. They will be missed by me, and the community."
"The first word that comes to mind when I think of Conny is gracious," said Elin Sullivan, a trustee of the museum. "She was unfailingly warm, welcoming and smiling. Any time you visited her home she would immediately offer tea and cookies, and it was impossible to resist the invitation. And in virtually every conversation she would express, in some way, how proud she was of her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren."
Conny was born Sept. 16, 1925 in Surabaya in the Netherlands East Indies, which is present day Indonesia. Her father, Cornelis Van Rossen, was a governor of different provinces on the island of Java.
Her idyllic childhood in Indonesia was brought to an abrupt end with the outbreak of World War II. She survived three and a half years in five different Japanese concentration camps, suffering malnutrition and inhumane treatment at the hands of her captors.
In 1946, Conny left with her parents for the Netherlands. She obtained her teaching degree in the Hague. She came to the U.S. in 1949 to continue her studies at Teachers College, Columbia University.
In 1950, she married Jaap. Shortly after getting married, they moved to their home in Bedford Hills.
Conny was a past member of the Bedford Hills Woman’s Club. She loved nature and the outdoors. She proudly maintained a large collection of well-stocked bird feeders in her yard.
Conny is survived by her son, Jaap Jan, of Princeton, NJ and her daughter-in-law Regina; two grandchildren, Juliana and Conrad; as well as her sister-in-law Cornelia aan de Wiel of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
The family will receive friends on Saturday (Dec. 15) from 10 a.m. to noon at Clark Associates Funeral Home in Katonah. A private cremation was held.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to:
The Bedford Hills Historical Museum
P.O. Box 331
Bedford Hills, NY 10507
Editor's note: Patch thanks Clark Associates Funeral Home for providing much of this information.